Ethical Use of Technology in Digital Learning Environments


Book cover image depicts a hand holding a globe from which icons of people and digital devices are all connected to.

Brown B., Roberts V., Jacobsen M., Hurrell C., (Eds.). (n.d.) Ethical Use of Technology in Digital Learning Environments. PressBooks.

Reviewed by: Anonymous, Lehman College


This OER evaluation is on Ethical Use of Technology In Digital Learning Environment: Graduate Student Perspectives. The publisher of this resource is Open Education Alberta. The textbook is written by several graduate students over the course of a year, during the Covid-19 Pandemic. The students selected topics related to technology use they were intrigued by and wrote about them. The resource is divided into two halves and covers a variety of topics concerning technology during the Covid-19 era and afterward. These topics include the facilitation of national healthcare applications with personal data; excessive video gaming and its implications on children; video intrusion during synchronous online classes; risks of using artificial intelligence (AI); online cheating and the use of e-proctoring; access to broadband connectivity in rural communities; and big data in educational contexts. This resource is great for those who are interested in technology and its implications in the near future, specifically in a classroom setting or data privacy/sensitivity. This source is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY).


The content of this textbook is extremely relevant in this day and age. It is easily applicable to a real-world context, especially since the use of technology in classrooms, at home, and at larger health institutions is trending upwards. The infographics, videos, and questions provided in the book edify the material greatly. Towards the end of some chapters, the questions further stimulate the information provided. Considering the OER was made by graduate students, the rhetoric is rather sophisticated, with the exception of the explanation of technical terms. A teenager reading about topics related to them (like video games, e-proctoring, broadband connectivity, or technological use in classrooms) might struggle with this textbook. This resource also expresses the use of the co-designing process and shares the fact that learning is a shared experience.

Structure, Organization, and Technical: The introduction prefaces the book, explaining the origin of the resource and its authors, the textbook is split into two parts: Emerging Ethical Questions on User Well-being in Technology-Enabled Learning Environments and Critical Considerations of the Ethics of Technological Advances and their Effects on Autonomy and Privacy. As mentioned, the book prefaces the fact that co-designing of this textbook is part of its makeup and strongly encouraged. The figures in the book are primarily in black and white, so black and white printing should not hinder the resource. However, more colors would have made it more visually appealing, but in terms of getting the content across, the lack of color makes no difference. The textbook is widely available in several forms: EPUB, Digital PDF, Print PDF, Pressbooks XML, and OpenDocument.

Images and Interactive Features: The resource is fairly limited in terms of its infographics. Some chapters do not contain any infographics at all. Those that do, have tables, questions, and a singular video. On the bright side, the conclusion has several colorful charts! The visual content is easy to comprehend and visually appealing. The few visuals that are included are effective in getting their point across to the consumer. Overall, the textbook could upgrade the earlier chapters with more colorful charts, videos, and infographics.

Social Justice and Equity: Throughout its chapters, this textbook consistently considers marginalized groups that may not have access to certain technological resources. In all chapters, it considers the ethical implications of the technology discussed and its implications on all communities! The resource is very inclusive in terms of taking into consideration all groups and people. For example, the first chapter ethically considers whether requiring cameras in virtual classes could be taken as racist by taking cultural sensitivities into consideration. It continues to claim that all students have the right to cultural privacy. It does not delve into these topics in-depth but mentions them respectively and appropriately.

Accessibility: The CC-BY license allows reusers to distribute, remix, adapt and build upon the material in any medium or format as long as the proper attribution is given. The resource includes a clear Creative Commons licensing statement that promotes all 5Rs. The text targets a wide variety of audiences from children (although they would need someone to simply the written material for their reading level) to doctors. Most, if not all, infographics contain a caption underneath briefly describing it. There are several infographics that have a range of colors in the conclusion, but other than that, the colors are primarily black and white. Even the colors the textbook does use are rather simplistic (blue, red, green.) In conclusion, this textbook is relatively inclusive.

Supplemental Materials: The best activity this resource had were a set of questions at the end of the two parts of the book. These questions were rather engaging and demanded the reader to think critically about the material. The OER also provided a video that showed a simulation of the experience of a student during the Covid-19 pandemic. Other than that, the textbook lacked activities that allowed readers to think or engage differently with the material presented.

Overall Review

I would recommend this textbook to a wide range of people. Since the book is so inclusive, it targets a multitude of people with diverse backgrounds. Anyone who has experienced the Covid-19 pandemic should be intrigued by its effects on students and teachers. For example, the stress of in-person or virtual classes and the new standards for testing (e-proctoring.) With the explosion of demand for video games and more children consuming them, this textbook is also important for parents and children. Even the IT community will benefit from this OER since it harps on artificial intelligence and the risks associated with it (data privacy/informed consent.) I think that anyone and everyone would benefit from this textbook since it mainly focuses on the use of technology at all ages and levels. With the use of technology rapidly increasing, this resource is more prevalent than ever.



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Evaluating OER for Social Justice Copyright © 2022 by Anonymous is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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